Dr Emmanuel Tabat, a medical practitioner at the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna, has stressed the need for Nigerians to go for regular HIV test to know their status and improve their health lifestyle.
The theme of the 2019 World AIDS Day is “Communities make the difference’’. The medical expert stressed the need for people, irrespective of their health status, to conduct HIV test screening at least twice a year. “Every health practitioner wants to prevent every individual diagnosed with HIV from progressing to AIDS. “Firstly, it is advised that every individual should regularly do a HIV test. “This should be at least once or twice in a year, except for high risk individuals such as commercial sex workers, people married to infected spouses, hospital workers, and those dealing with HIV/AIDS patients,” he said.
According to him, the test in most hospitals and HIV/AIDs centres is free and can be done discreetly if the person does not want their identity known. While advising people living with HIV/AIDS to take their medication seriously so as to prevent any health complications, the doctor stressed the need for the society to stop any form of stigmatisation on persons living with the disease.
Tabat noted that the 2019 theme would further educate the public on HIV/AIDS prevention, control, appropriate treatment and the role communities, government and NGOs were playing in the AIDS response at international, national and local levels.
According to the 2019 report by the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), there is an estimated 1.9 million people living with HIV in Nigeria.